DR Congo declares end of 12th Ebola epidemic


Three medical workers check on an Ebola patient in a Biosecure Emergency care Unite (CUBE) on August 15, 2018 in Beni, DR Congo.

Photo credit: John Wessels | AFP

 The Democratic Republic of Congo has officially declared the end of the 12th Ebola epidemic in the country. The virus was first discovered in the country in the1970s.

The end of the epidemic that has so far killed six people was announced on Monday by the new Health Minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani.

The minister said that the response to the disease had been influenced by the spread of Covid-19.

"The response to this epidemic (Ebola) has been influenced by the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic which has not spared our country," said the minister.

The disease, which had re-appeared in North Kivu in February, affected Butembo, Byena, Katwa and Musienene towns.  

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the response to the Ebola epidemic has been swift and effective. The global health body says it has provided continued support to the authorities by preparing the shipment of vaccine doses and facilitating the shipment of cold chain equipment to Butembo.

In two years, the Democratic Republic of Congo has experienced three Ebola epidemics, including a deadly one which resulted in more than 2,000 deaths between 2018 and 2020.

WHO says the Ebola virus is often in animal reservoirs in the region. The risk of re-emergence by exposure to animal hosts or to body fluids from survivors of this epidemic cannot be excluded.